Loyola University freshman Alison Breitenbach and her 14-year-old brother, Jack, received a surprise last week from a kind stranger.
Alison, 19, and her brother, a freshman in high school, had a long chat over a late breakfast at Miss Shirley's on Cold Spring Lane Friday.
"We were just catching up," said Alison. "I hadn't seen my brother since winter break. It's kind of weird for me not to be there while he's in high school."
The siblings' mother, Laura Breitenbach, had a meeting in Washington, and had dropped Jack off to spend the night in Alison's dorm.
The brother and sister have always been close, and they've missed each other since Alison left the family's home in Westchester County, N.Y., to go to college.
They were discussing Jack's experiences in high school and what it was like for him to be the only kid at home.
They shared a few words about bacon with a woman sitting alone near them. Then, they noticed that she had beckoned over the waiter and was whispering to him.
Alison at first worried that they had annoyed the woman.
But when the check arrived, she realized what the woman had said to the waiter. She had paid for their breakfast and left this note:
"Enjoy your day! It was a treat hearing a brother and sister get along so well."
Alison said it made her happy that her conversation with her brother could brighten a stranger's day. And it was nice to share the news with her mother.
Laura Breitenbach tweeted a photo of the receipt thanking the anonymous benefactor.
"You made a mother VERY proud," she wrote.